Rotary Club of Oak Bay Victoria British Columbia Canada Rotary District 5020
2009-2010 Rotary International Theme: The Future of Rotary is in Your Hands
District 5020 Governor 2009-2010: Alex Alexander. Assistant Governor: Tav Macpherson
Join us at Noon on Tuesdays at the Oak Bay Recreation Centre ( MAP)

Program for March 30, 2010, reported by Tricia Timmermans.

President Vicky opened the meeting with an April Fools' Day themed video. Returnee, John Snively, gave a slightly longish account of how the 4-Way-Test was applied during his recent trip to SE Asia with his son. This was a cue to Rod to thank "the guest speaker". Our real speaker, John Jordan, is pictured below.

Visiting Rotarians And Guests
Introduced by Pablo:
Guest speaker, John Jordan, and his wife
Heather Roberts, guest of Lorna, and Ron Kerr, guest of Jim.


Joan Peggs reminded all of the PolioPlus walk: Sunday April 18th at 11AM. It's a social five-K (i.e. no experience necessary) followed by lunch at the Penny Farthing (approximately 12 noon to 2:30). T-shirts are $20. Pledge sheets available.

Jim Force (above) showed the Wishing Well that the club may buy. The WW was displayed at the ShelterBox event (last 2 weekends) where $2110+ was raised. Brian and Peter J gave a demo on how to make those coins spin.

Heather Roberts presented a cheque from the OB Recreation Centre for the $1000+ raised at the centre to purchase a ShelterBox.

Vicky outlined the successful March we have had, what with the Guess Who's Coming to Dinner evening, the Mustard Seed collecting at Fairway Markets, the Memory Cafe at the OB Lodge, RYLA, and the ShelterBox event on two weekends.

Guest Speaker
John Jordan

John was introduced by Joan Firkins. John has recently returned from Rwanda, where he has been helping the people there, particularly grandmas and orphans, who are struggling to survive after the 1994 Rwandan Genocide in which hundreds of thousands of Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed. This "Land of 1000 hills" is a beautiful country sitting 6000 feet above sea level. The 80-mile-long Lake Kivu separates Rwanda from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which John could see in the distance from where he was staying in Kibogora. It is the most densely populated and smallest landlocked country in Africa. The people, therefore, need to use every inch of land available for food growing. The resourcefulness of the people has been recognized in that last year Rwanda became only the second country, not formerly a British colony, to be accepted into the Commonwealth.

Children under 15 represent 60% of the population. By Grade 1, these charming, beguiling kids are speaking French and English. They have a capacity for joy. They think nothing of happily walking a few miles to get a cup of porridge at a community feeding program. John's original aim was to go there to see how he could help the grandmothers and great-grandmothers who care for their own children's orphaned children. With an undeniable spirit, they work in the fields all day so that these kids can go to school. They think nothing of walking great distances to fill heavy jugs of water which they then carry up hills to their meagre homes. Some of the many problems they face include smoky stoves causing respiratory illnesses, bad roofs which mean sleeping in wet conditions, lack of food, lack of tools and cooking utensils, poor eyesight, and an inability to afford the $2 medical insurance that all Rwandans must pay for health care. HIV positive families are rife so health coverage is vital.

John sees "literacy" for Rwandans as being "Sustainable Skills". Together with a high school principal and another young man, he started out by fixing roofs and trying to find a steady source of food. For $50, four sheets of corrugated iron will cover part of a roof - at least then the families can sleep dry. They also built raised-bed gardens in which they can grow three to four series of crops a year. Watering, however, is a problem. So another challenge was met - that of designing a water reservoir where 500 litres can be collected in one night with a good downpour. This eliminates the problem of the long treks to fetch water. Rabbit cages were designed. These fit into the houses so that they then do not "walk" in the night. They also are learning to collect the rabbit urine and faeces for composting. Smoke-free stoves that use 60% less fuel have also been devised. These also result in less burn accidents. Patrick is the Coordinator and Musafiri isthe Field Manager for the project. To John's delight, Patrick, announced that if John were to teach his students the necessary skills, they would work for free. So a "training camp" was set up. As the students are all orphans, this meant they had a place to stay while they were learning the skills. He told of innovative success stories where rabbits were raised and sold, and where rainwater on the roof was diverted such that the grandmas could have running water inside their homes. The students' latest project is to plant 2000 trees in an effort to stop erosion. This is the language they are learning - that of community sustainability.

Catch all the details, and more of John's beautiful photos of the project here. On the blog you'll learn about the preliminary talks John held with the president of Kigali Rotary re overseeing cooperative projects, and of the invitation Musafiri received to participate in a 5-day Rotary-sponsored training program on sustainable practices for Rwandan communities. Rotary is alive and well in this very promising country.

rotary emblem

John was thanked by Eugen Bannerman, who presented him with the Oak Bay Rotary 4-Way-Test coffee mug.

Sergeant-at-Arms Leslie had a stumper for how the date for Easter is decided. The clerics in the crowd were exempt from answering, but Wynn did anyway. Mark thought it was when the rabbits laid their eggs. Tricia was fined for failing to collect any $s with her questions, and Leslie was fined for "creating a conundrum". Joan had a happy dollar for collecting $1000 from her neighbours unexpectedly (for Rotary, not for her) and Pablo was happy to have returned from Mexico after a good trip where he was conducting the orchestra and visitng family. Lorna, soon to be a grannie, is happy she will be a girl after overspending in the female infant department. Lois has a birthday, Lorna a Rotary anniversary, and Anne won the draw.


Jack (above) played his Tuscany Dinner video with a reminder re donations. Lorna, David M and Wolf purchased bottles of Tuscan wine. Lorna added a plug for donations, either in kind or service. If the latter, deliver Gift Certificates to her before May 4.

Missed from last week's bulletin was the report on the Malawi Girls' School video that was shown at the meeting. You can catch it here. This year our club has donated $11,650 towards the APU Malawi School's water project ($4,000 came from last year's budget designated for a Matching Grant Project).

On the SmileBox page, click on the WATER PROJECT TAB to see how our club's money is being put to fantastic use.


06-Apr Johannknecht Lamb Lawrie Ockermueller MacPherson
12-Apr Madsen Maxwell McLean McLeod McLaughlin
20-Apr Murray Mutter Edgell Lidkea O'Coffey
27-Apr Peggs Petrie Prentice Philip Pritchard

Cash Desk: Taylor; 50-50: Hayes

April 6 Jane Butler McGregor - Victoria Conservatory of Music
April 13 Olive Bailey - Bletchley Park - code-breaking and counter-espionage
April 20 Club Assembly
April 27 Chris Nucci - Piracy in Somalia

Service above Self - He Profits Most who Serves Best
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